Wow! We just wrapped-up the 2nd Annual Puget Sound Green Infrastructure Summit, and as the dust settles from this landmark event, we are electrified by the range of innovative, collaborative and intersectional “solutions-making” that is happening throughout our region. We definitely have a lot of work ahead of us to scale up to match the immense challenges of building solutions that address polluted runoff as we create healthy, thriving communities for all people, but we are ready to make it happen!
Working closely with an amazing host committee from The Nature Conservancy, City of Seattle, Salmon-Safe, Washington State, University, Washington Environmental Council and MIG-SvR Design, we focused on three interconnected themes: Getting Growth Right at this unique moment in history, using green infrastructure for Climate Resilience, and making green infrastructure into a positive force for Racial and Social Equity. These themes were throughlines for the day’s presentations, discussions, rapid fire case studies and breakout sessions that focused on positive impacts, decision-making and developers going way beyond code requirements.
Among the day’s many highlights:
- Keynote speaker, Majora Carter challenging our notion that green infrastructure isn’t sexy as she laid out the very real appeal of the path from green infrastructure to community revitalization through jobs and property development investments.
- Demonstration that Huskies and Cougars alike are bringing innovative perspectives and cutting edge science to bear on polluted runoff. They may be rival schools, but they are collaborating on our shared future. Additional projects from Kitsap County, Tacoma, Seattle, Tukwila, Duvall and Bellingham rounded-out the regional perspective.
- Of special interest to us at Stewardship Partners was our beta-launch of the Sound Impacts portal, a project that we have been developing for two years, designed to bring organizations, government agencies, businesses and communities together around shared data tracking for the sake of understanding our collective impacts.
- In the closing call to action, the point was clearly made that we are living in a unique time and the bright green light that Puget Sound shines is an important beacon for the nation and the world.
We wrapped the discussion portion of the day with a panel that demonstrated growth, equity and resilience in current ongoing projects, followed by calls to action from Congressman Denny Heck and Seattle Public Utilities General Manager Mami Hara. The Summit closed with recognition of three outstanding community leaders who are driving local movement towards equity, strategy and implementation: Jessica Knickerbocker with the City of Tacoma, Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS), and De’Sean Quinn, Tukwila City Council.
This collaborative effort included 16 sponsors. Thank you to our Premiere Sponsors, Boeing and the Nature Conservancy, and to our more than 30 presenters! The Summit was dedicated to building a region-wide collaborative network around the City Habitats Campaign – a virtual gathering space and resource sharing portal for all kinds of green infrastructure work across the Puget Sound guided by the principle that for nature, cities and people to thrive, we must connect all three through green infrastructure, access to nature and sustainable solutions to our biggest challenges.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Stewardship Partners hosted event if we didn’t have responsibly indulgent food and drink! We are immensely thankful to Whole Foods for the food, Earth Corps for the coffee, Chateau Ste. Michelle for the wine and the Mountaineers for the space!